Akebono Brake Industry began constructing Ai-Village, a global training centre, at its Ai-City Headquarters in Hanyu.

The ceremony was attended by about 50 people, including Hisataka Nobumoto, president of Akebono Brake. A reception following the ceremony was attended by about 70 people. Among the guests were Hirohata, vice governor of Saitama Prefecture, Tachikawa, deputy manager, department of industry and labour, and Kawada, mayor of Hanyu City. In outline, president Nobumoto’s opening remarks for the reception were as follows.

“In 2010, we purchased Bosch’s brake business in North America, and currently, about 60% of the Akebono Brake Group’s net sales and associates are from overseas locations. We are also opening new plants – in Vietnam this year and Mexico next year – and as we reinforce our European business, they will make a growing contribution. Our aim is “true globalisation,” so we can handle today’s increasingly international market. Accordingly, we will build Akebono into an unrivalled company, and meet our customers’ needs, by benefiting from our associates’ diversity in terms of language, culture, and values. Our slogan as a unified group is “One Goal, One Team, One akebono.” Now, we have started work on Ai-Village, as a base to create new value as One Team, by sharing knowledge and experience among associates from each country and networking within the Group. We will make maximum use of this centre to equip associates with the skills appropriate to a global company.”

Akebono’s Ai-City Headquarters complex already houses a manufacturing centre and brake history museum (Ai-Museum). The establishment of Ai-Village will further reinforce Akebono’s training capabilities, to prepare globally capable associates and secure a solid foundation for talent development over the medium to long term. The name Ai represents both Akebono Innovation and “ai,” the Japanese word for indigo, as Hanyu City is famous for indigo dyeing. The word “Village,” which is pronounced in the French style, reflects the training centre’s position as part of the Ai-City complex.

Main features of the “Ai-Village”

  • Flexible learning spaces that can be enlarged or reduced depending on programme requirements
  • Presentation auditorium modelled on a university-style lecture theatre
  • Dedicated language laboratories and study rooms
  • Lounge areas for enhanced communication and garden spaces for greenery
  • Accommodation for medium- and long-term-stay visitors (56 rooms)
  • Kitchen facilities for cross-cultural exchanges through the experience of various cuisines, etc.
  • Library facilities to support self-study through e-learning and other means
  • Video conferencing functions to strengthen worldwide networking among global facilities

Environmental measures

  • Efforts to plant trees across the entire site with a greening attainment rate of approximately 30%
  • Utilisation of renewable energy technologies (solar power systems, solar water heating equipment, energy/cost savings through use of natural resources)
  • Promotion of wildlife diversification through on-site cultivation of local fauna and flora such as aldrovanda vesiculosa and fireflies

Business Continuity Plan

  • Earthquake proofing reinforced by 150% of Japanese standards
  • Emergency provisions and supplies available in the event of use as in emergency evacuations
  • Includes back-up power supply system

Facility outline

  • Facility name: Ai-Village
  • Address: 5-Chome Higashi, Hanyu-City, Saitama
  • Site area: Approx. 9,500m2
  • Floor space: Approx. 4,270m2
  • Construction: Two story, steel frame building
  • Design: Plantec Architects
  • Contractor: Kitano Construction.
  • Start of construction: 13 May 2012
  • Completion: 19 December 2012
  • Total investment: Approx. JPY 1.7bn (US$19.5m)